8 Best & Worst Foods for Energy
Forget caffeine — with some simple diet retooling, you can eat your way to an active, productive and focused day. Read on for tips and tricks on what to eat and what to avoid for long-lasting energy.
Tips For Long-Lasting Energy:
Stay Hydrated. Staying hydrated is key to keeping your energy level up; dehydration can do a number on your metabolism, your concentration and your focus. It can also hinder your ability to do even the most minor of physical tasks. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Eat Every 3-4 Hours. Keeping your body fueled steadily throughout the day — whether that’s through regular snacks or 5 to 6 smaller meals instead of 3 big ones — is a great way to have all-day energy. If you find your mind wandering between meals, grab a healthy snack to keep your stomach and your brain satisfied.
Be Smart About Caffeine. There are plenty of health benefits to a having a regular cup of coffee or tea. If you just can’t make it through the day without that little jolt of caffeine, try to make the most of it by timing it well and drinking a healthy portion. You can find more on that here.
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The Best Foods For Energy.
Eating healthy whole grains are one of the best ways to keep energized all day long. Whole grains, like oats, quinoa, bulgur, barley, spelt and more, are loaded with complex carbohydrates and fiber — both of which help produce a slow and steady stream of energy throughout the day. Starting your morning off with a bowl of whole wheat will do wonders for your energy levels all day long.
Keeping hydrated is key to maintaing your energy, but hydration need not come in a glass. Fresh fruits and veggies are loaded with water, with apples, melons, and berries leading the pack.
Nuts are packed with filling and energy-boosting protein and fats. All nuts have some fiber, with almonds being a top source. Though you won’t get a sudden burst of energy, nuts are great for the long-haul. Nuts are also one of the best vegetarian sources of iron, and they’re a good source of potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids.
In addition to being an excellent vegetarian source of protein, lentils are loaded with soluble fiber — one serving can have almost half of your daily requirements! Lentils are a particularly great food for people with type 2 diabetes, but their stabilizing effect on blood sugar benefits everyone else, too. They are also an excellent source of energy-boosting iron.
The Worst Foods for Energy.
Foods with White Flour & Added Sugar.
Though whole grains and fresh fruits are great for boosting your energy, white, processed wheat products and sugary snacks have the opposite affect — at least in the long run. Bagels, candy, doughnuts, white bread, cookies, cakes, ice cream and all other sorts of refined flour and sugary products give you a temporary surge of energy, quickly followed by blood sugar crash that will ultimately leave you feeling tired.
Thinking about stopping by the drive-thru on your lunch break? Well, if you’ve got anything important to do, it’s best to skip it. That’s because high-fat foods do a number on your energy levels. Your body has to work a lot harder to digest these gut-busters, and research has linked a high-fat diet to decreased alertness and increased sleepiness. It can also play a negative role on your ability to sleep at night.
In addition to all the problems with fat, white flour and added sugar, processed foods place another hurdle on your energy level: all that added salt. A sodium-heavy diet contributes to dehydration, increases your blood pressure, and makes you feel bloated, all issues that lead to low energy levels.